This post is not about central heating, boilers or anything to do with water. It’s confusing I know but I have this saying and those that know me or those that have been following me on Instagram for a while, will have seen or heard me use this. Don’t be a drain be a radiator. Radiators are those people we all want in our lives. They are positive happy and just a pleasure to be around. They bring you up instead of bringing you down. Now on the other side of the coin are the drains. These people are hard to be around they are negative they zap your energy it’s always about them. Drains like to be around radiators they feed on their positivity it gives them strength.
But Sometimes a radiator can become a drain….
This is a very emotional and incredibly personal article. (I have had to stop a few times) here it goes.
Let’s start from the beginning on the 20th of June 2010 I married my best friend. Life was pretty good we had just bought a house and we were slowly doing it up one room at a time. We couldn’t afford a honeymoon so instead my dad offered us his flat in Spain for a week in August. It was wonderful we ate everything we relaxed and we started to plan our future. We were so excited everything seemed so easy and fun. Or at least that’s how it felt to me the years that followed when looking back at that precious happy week.
A week later we arrived back home from our honeymoon. The next day we drove to see my mum. We were so excited, we couldn’t wait to tell her about our house renovation plans we had found a builder and chosen the paint colours everything looked exciting. As it should for a newly married couple excited for their future. The next step for me was to carry on studying while teaching and to one day run the SENCO department at a school(special educational needs coordinator.) I had been teaching for five years and now felt like the right time to take that next step. My husband had just started his own business a scary prospect for him but still an exciting one.While driving our mini my husband stopped at a roundabout suddenly there was a massive bang our car catapulted towards the central section and nothing. I don’t remember anything I hit my head there was blood my back hurt it burned my husband was next to me I remember him looking at me and talking to me nothing. I remember the police arriving and then the ambulance my husband seemed ok he was moving around but it felt to me like everything was moving fast then slow then fast. I was put into the ambulance taken to the local hospital and examined by a young doctor he had blonde hair and a accent I tried to make a joke but it all came out wrong. My husband looked at me strangely. The look as if to say. I don’t understand who are you.
From that moment on I didn’t feel the same I felt different. Physically I was ok I had a black eye some cuts my back was hurt but that healed after a few months. It was me that changed. I became a different person. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I finally allowed myself to see a specialist in London. That I was diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Nobody understands what depression or PTSD feels like unless they have experienced it for themselves. I was a butterfly who turned into a caterpillar withdrawn suspicious I had nightmares I stopped leaving the house except to buy chocolate and crisps. I would go to sleep at 4am and wake up at 12-2pm. I stopped caring how I looked as the weight piled on I listened to my family telling me I had to do something about it. They kept saying just go on a diet but what they didn’t understand was that food was comfort for me. It made me feel safe and that was something I needed so desperately, because I didn’t feel safe not anywhere. The not sleeping regular hours the anxiety and stress made it almost impossible for me to return to a job I had loved for so many years. But I did I started working again a few months after the accident but driving to and from work became impossible. My husband just 5 months after our wedding became what felt like my carer. He would drive me to work every morning and pick me up every afternoon, (this arrangement didn’t last long and I stopped working altogether for a whole year.) His new fragile business suffered because of the time he spent on me. The guilt made me feel worse but still I could do nothing about how I was feeling I was living in a perpetual state of fear hating myself for feeling this way and hating how dependent I had become. The physical changes affected my confidence greatly the weight I have touched on but the hair loss just felt like a kick in the teeth. I have always used my hair as a security blanket but one day I noticed I had a receding parting and thinning sides my eyelashes fell out or I pulled them out from agitation and I would get these horrible spots on my neck and chin. Huge cystic acne I have since learnt was due to the weight and my subsequent hormone imbalance. Iam going to call this next section friends because before the accident I had lots of friends I was a great listener apparently. (Kind and generous not my words theirs) but after my accident my personality changed and those friends couldn’t accept that. One by one they cut me out it wasn’t immediate it happened over a couple of years. I know I pushed them away with my coldness they didn’t like the new Sarah. I understood that I didn’t like her to. You are probably thinking they were not great friends to begin with. But It was my fault to because I put so much into my friendships. I would be the one to always call to always offer help to be supportive. I always and still like being needed. When a friend hurt her foot and couldn’t walk I brought her food and magazines and went to visit her. But after my accident none of them came to visit me, I got the odd how are you call but considering most of them lived no more than 15-30 minutes away it was hard when they didn’t make the effort to see me. So this is where the radiator and drain saying fits in I was a radiator but then became a drain. And so apparently were these friends instead of helping me they made me feel worse. Breaking up with a friend is as hard as ending a relationship. One day they just disappeared there were birthdays I wasn’t invited to baby showers I wasn’t included in. A WhatsApp group which became redundant. It hurt physically and emotionally for years. I was damaged before but after the friendship breakdowns I was a mirror shattered into a million pieces. It took me 3 and a half years to put those pieces back together with therapy and the support of my husband. Recently a couple of these friends got in touch I met both we spoke about what happened it was cathartic they expressed sadness at losing me as a friend. I in-turn I expressed my feelings towards losing them as friends. I said I was hurt and I was sorry for not being the girl they had known before. But I explained calmly I was ill depression is a illness (only now that I feel like me again could I say this without shaking.) One of them said she thought about me everyday. My response was I stopped thinking about her. To get over what had happened I had to delete her number and move on. I told her I mourned our friendship like a death it was hard but I got over it. It has been 5 years since our friendship ended. She was shocked at how I had dealt with the end of our friendship. She said she wanted our friendship to go back to how it was. I said I am happy to see her and be friendly with her but it won’t be the same as it was. All these years I had dreamed about what I would say to these girls who hurt me so deeply. Would I shout would I cry would I laugh instead I stayed calm I was kind I said thank you. Life is to short to precious to beautiful to fill it with ugliness. I am not a perfect person but I try so hard to do the right thing everyday we make choices. My choice is to be mindful and kind as much as I can. But like I said I am not perfect far from it. I still make mistakes.
I have days where I feel anxious where I feel lonely but then I pinch myself (metaphorically) cuddle a cat and take a long hard unfiltered look at myself. I am so lucky I am alive and I thank the universe for allowing me to get better. For giving me a second chance. To appreciate the things and the people I have and the new friends I have made and to allow myself to be brave and take chances.
Thank you for reading.
If you have ever felt lost, hopeless or like you can’t carry on please speak to somebody. Whether it be friend or family, professional or just a helpline. Don’t be like me and bury your head in the sand. Even if you feel like life is standing still it isn’t don’t let your life pass you by. I look at all the incredible things and opportunities that I am making for myself and for all the chances and leaps of faith I have taken and I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t give up. Please don’t give up.